Book Review: A Promising but Deeply Problematic Haunted House Novel

At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, is the Finch House. For years it has remained empty, overgrown, abandoned. Soon the door will be opened for the first time in decades. But something is waiting, lurking in the shadows, anxious to meet its new guests…

When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country’s most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won’t be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt will become a fight for survival. The entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them a part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek.

Goodreads Synopsis

Overall Rating


Spooky Rating


Quick Take

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas started out as a promising haunted house novel with excellent examinations of the horror genre and why it is important to those of us who are fans. However, the story became deeply problematic as it contained frequent and harmful fatphobic themes throughout the novel. The one essential female character was also poorly and offensively portrayed. What started out as an enticing horror novel quickly became a book that was difficult to digest, and whose story was all over the place. I had to push through to finish, and I do not recommend it.

Tell Me More

I am a frequent fan of haunted house novels, especially when those houses are set in the prairie. I’m a sucker for pioneer history and adding a creep factor to it is my ultimate cup of tea. So, upon reading the synopsis of Kill Creek by Scott Thomas, I immediately snapped it up. It seemed right down my alley, and I was excited to get into it.

The first few chapters were enticing, and I loved learning about the history of the house on Kill Creek, as well as the anecdotes on the horror genre. I was immediately absorbed, and I thought that this was going to become one of my favorite horror books of all time. However, I was sadly mistaken.

I do not stand for prejudice against any group of people, especially in the books I read. We live in a world where we need to celebrate diversity in all of its forms and hate of any kind is unacceptable. Unfortunately, fatphobia is more accepted in our society, and it often sneaks its way into the literary world – which is the case with Kill Creek. The character of Daniel was a harmful representation of a fat individual, and the constant negative descriptions of his body throughout the novel were uncalled for and unnecessary in the context of the story. Daniel as a character was a sweet man and had lovely characteristics, but Thomas managed to make him out to be this disgusting creature simply because of his body size. I can usually put up with minor incidents of fatphobia in books, but this issue infiltrated the entire novel. By the time I finished the book, I felt utterly disgusted. While Thomas’ portrayal of fat individuals may not bother some readers, it was an unforgiveable issue for me.

Apart from the fatphobia, the one central female character was poorly and unrealistically portrayed. There were numerous plot holes throughout the novel, and the story droned on in areas that made it hard to get through. Thomas also repeated himself frequently throughout the novel, and it felt like I was reading the same passages over and over. I do not want to spoil the ending, but I did not like how it played out, especially with what happened to Daniel’s character.

While there were a few creepy moments throughout the novel, they were overshadowed by the problems with the story. The novel did manage to have an overarching air of eeriness about it that some readers might enjoy, but it did feel like a slow burn.

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas started out with a great premise. Unfortunately, its problems outweighed its positives, and I was deeply disappointed. The fatphobic themes throughout the novel were extremely harmful, and the writing and story structure were poorly thought out. I do not recommend this novel. There are much better haunted house horror novels out there that deserve your time.


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